How to cook pizza on a pizza stone

How to cook pizza on a pizza stone

While cold pizza in itself is a treat, warmed-up pizza fresh from the oven has a just-cooked crispness that's difficult to resist, especially when compared to the too-chewy or overly soggy pizza crust that can result from microwave heating. But heating up leftover pizza can be tricky: give it too little oven heat for too long and you risk sitting down to dried-out, crunchy crust. Turn the oven heat up too high, and you may burn the cheese. Exact cooking time varies, depending upon the thickness of your pizza crust, so ensure pizza-heating success by monitoring the pizza closely as it heats up.

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Step 1

Heat up leftover pizza with a pizza stone, which helps produce a crisp crust by absorbing excess oil and moisture. Put the pizza stone on the center of the bottom oven rack, then turn the oven on to 400 degrees Fahrenheit and allow the stone to preheat completely, which typically takes 30 minutes or more. Leave the oven on and transfer the pizza slices to the heated pizza stone, exercising care not to burn your hands during the process. Leave the pizza slices to heat up on the pizza stone for six to 10 minutes, or until the cheese on the top of the pizza is bubbly and melted.

Step 2

Warm up your pizza in the oven on a baking sheet. Line the baking sheet with parchment paper to ensure a crisp, non-soggy crust, and put the pan in the oven to preheat at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 10 to 15 minutes. Set the slices of cold pizza directly on the parchment paper-covered baking sheet and leave them in the oven to heat for 5 to 8 minutes, or until the crust is crispy and the cheese bubbles slightly. Leave the oven turned on throughout the duration of the pizza warm-up time.

Step 3

Substitute a sheet of aluminum foil for a baking sheet if you'd prefer not to use a pan. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit and bake the pizza for 8 to 10 minutes, leaving the oven turned on until you've completely heated and removed the pizza.

Things You’ll Need

Sprinkle parmesan cheese or pizza-friendly seasonings, such as oregano, thyme, basil and garlic powder, lightly across the top of the pizza before reheating it to refresh its taste and enhance its appearance.

Warning

Be careful when putting the pizza in and removing it from the oven to avoid burns.

How to cook pizza on a pizza stone

Pizza is a popular dinner food, but ordering take-out can be costly. For a more economical option, try making homemade pizza with pre-made dough. Bake it on a stone for a crispy crust or use a cake pan for the deep-dish version.

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Working Pre-Made Pizza Dough

Step 1: Choose a Baking Dish

Use the right baking equipment to achieve the type of crust you prefer. Use a baking stone for a thin crispy crust or a pizza pan for a crisp-bottomed, chewy crust. For deep-dish, Chicago-style pizza, use a round cake pan.

Step 2: Prep the Pan

Prepare the pan by sprinkling its surface with cornmeal or brushing it with oil.

Step 3: Spread the Dough

Remove the refrigerated pre-made pizza dough from the package and press it onto the baking surface. Bakery or pizza shop dough tends to spring back a bit more than dough from a tube and may need some additional stretching to fit it onto the pan or stone.

Topping the Pizza

Step 1: Choose Your Toppings

Choose toppings for your store bought pizza dough. Cook raw meat toppings, such as chicken or lean sausage.

Add some veggies to help meet the 2.5 cup daily recommendations in the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans.

Vegetables that are firm or release a lot of moisture, like peppers or onions, also benefit from pre-cooking. Lightly sauté them to retain some crunch and color or extend the cooking time for soft, caramelized results.

Step 2: Shred Some Cheese

Shred, grate or crumble the cheese. Mozzarella, provolone, Monterey jack and Gruyere melt well and complement a variety of toppings.

Cheese is typically high in saturated fats — the kind that can contribute to heart disease, according to Harvard Health Publishing. Be mindful of the amount you add, or choose lower-fat versions.

Should you select a strong-flavored cheese such as Parmesan, Romano, pecorino or feta, you won't need to use as much, which cuts down on the dish's fat and calories.

Eating cheese on your pizza can help you meet the recommended 2 to 3 cups per day of dairy foods, according to the USDA's Choose My Plate.

Step 3: Spread the Sauce

Spread your favorite pizza sauce or spread onto the pre-made pizza dough, including tomato sauce, pesto, tapenade, roasted garlic or simply a light brushing of olive oil.

Step 4: Add the Toppings

Sprinkle the sauced pre-made pizza dough evenly with the desired toppings. Apply the toppings lightly to avoid weighing down the crust.

Baking the Pizza

Step 1: Heat the Oven

Heat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit for store-bought pizza dough from a tube or 450 F for thawed, bakery or pizza shop dough.

Step 2: Bake in the Oven

Place the pizza in the lower third of the oven to promote crisping and browning, and bake it for 14 to 16 minutes for a 12-inch pizza or 10 to 12 minutes for individual 6-inch pizzas.

Step 3: Remove the Pizza

Remove the pizza from the oven when its edges are crisp and the cheese begins to blister and turn golden brown.

Step 4: Let It Rest

Let the pizza rest for a few minutes before diving in for neater slicing.

Things You’ll Need

Refrigerated or thawed pizza dough

Tomato sauce or other spreadable topping

Shredded, grated or crumbled cheese

Favorite pizza toppings

Pizza baking pan or baking stone

If you prefer the taste of homemade dough, make a large batch and freeze it in portions after the rising. Remove the dough from the freezer in the morning to thaw by dinnertime.

Warning

Avoid piling too many toppings on the pizza as too many vegetables result in soggy pizza and too much meat or cheese yields a greasy, heavy pizza.

How to cook pizza on a pizza stone

Flatbread is an ideal base for home-baked thin-crust pizzas. Skip the sauce when making flatbread pizza, because it can make the thin crusts soggy. Use only a few toppings — two to four — including a combination of fresh seasonal ingredients that won’t weigh down the light, crisp flatbread beneath them.

Ingredients

Crust 1 cup warm water 1/2 teaspoon granulated sugar 1/4-ounce packet or 2 1/4 teaspoons dry active yeast 2 cups unbleached flour 1 teaspoon salt 2 tablespoons olive oil, plus extra for brushing * 2 teaspoons fresh oregano, optional

Toppings 1 to 2 cups sliced bell peppers or other vegetables 2 tablespoons olive oil 1 cup mozzarella or other cheese 1 cup Italian sausage or other meat * Fresh oregano or other herbs, to taste

Prepare Flatbread Dough

Measure 1 cup warm water — 100 to 110 degrees Fahrenheit — in a measuring glass. Add the sugar, stirring the water with a spoon to dissolve the sugar.

Add yeast to the water. Set the measuring cup aside until the yeast is frothy, about 10 minutes.

Place the dough hook attachment on an electric stand mixer or hand mixer. Pour the flour and salt in a mixing bowl. Set the mixer to the lowest speed setting to incorporate the two ingredients. Leave the mixer on as you prepare the remaining ingredients.

Add minced fresh oregano to make an herbed flatbread crust, if desired.

Pour the yeast mixture and olive oil into the mixing bowl. Continue mixing the ingredients on the lowest speed until they all come together in an uneven lump at the center of the bowl.

Increase the speed to the medium setting, mixing the dough until the lump of dough has a smooth, even texture, approximately 5 to 10 minutes. Turn off the mixer.

Apply a light coat of nonstick cooking spray or olive oil to the inside of a bowl. Transfer the dough to the bowl. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Place it in a dark, cool environment — such as an oven or microwave that is not in use — for one hour.

Remove the plastic wrap. Punch down the dough gently with your fists. Let the dough rest about five minutes.

Shape the dough into one or more rectangles or ovals that are about 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick. You should be able to make one or two 12-inch crusts, depending on thickness.

Brush a baking sheet with olive oil. Place the shaped dough on the baking sheet.

Top and Cook the Crust

Heat the oven to 450 F.

Spread thinly sliced bell peppers or other vegetables in a single layer on a baking sheet. Drizzle the veggies with olive oil.

Place the baking sheet in the preheated oven, roasting the vegetables until they are tender, about 15 minutes. Leave the oven on after you remove the pan of vegetables.

Par-bake the flatbread crust without toppings for about 5 minutes. Par-baking helps crisp the crust, which is vital for thin pizza.

Sprinkle shredded mozzarella or another grated, shredded or crumbled cheese on the par-baked crust. Sprinkle thin slices of cooked Italian sausage or other pre-cooked meat on top of the cheese. Add the roasted vegetables to the pizza. Season the flatbread with fresh oregano or other herbs, if desired.

Cook the flatbread pizza in a 450 degree F oven until the crust is golden brown, approximately 10 minutes.

Cut larger flatbread pizzas into easy-to-handle squares. Serve pizza immediately while it’s still hot.

Topping Tips

Pre-cooking meat toppings is required to ensure food safety; pre-cooking vegetable toppings is optional, depending on the textures you prefer. Fresh uncooked veggie toppings tend to become dry while pizza cooks, while roasted veggies stay moist and tender.

Mushrooms, fresh or caramelized onions, tomatoes, zucchini, squash, eggplant and artichoke hearts are other suitable pizza toppings. Cut vegetables into thin slices or small chunks to avoid overloading the thin crust.

Add leafy vegetables, such as torn spinach and arugula, after the pizza cooks.

You can substitute an additional vegetable topping if you prepare a cheese-less or vegetarian flatbread.

Parmesan, Romano, Asiago, provolone, ricotta, goat cheese, cheddar and Monterey Jack are ideal cheeses for flatbread pizza.

Cut meat toppings into thin slices or crumble them to avoid overloading the flatbread. Use cooked pepperoni, prosciutto, chicken, bacon, pancetta, ham and many types of sausage.

Basil, rosemary and thyme are flavorful herbs for flatbread pizza.

Substitution and Serving Tips

Substitute store-bought flatbread for homemade dough to simplify the pizza-making process. Tex-Mex tortillas yield ultra-thin-crust pizza. Indian naan is a little thicker and chewier than flour tortillas. Focaccia bread is an Italian flatbread ideal for pizzas featuring traditional Italian-inspired ingredients.

Substitute 1 teaspoon of dried herbs for fresh herbs in flatbread dough, if desired. You can also use basil, rosemary or thyme.

Substitute 1 cup of whole wheat flour for half of the unbleached flour to make a whole wheat crust.

Serve square slices of flatbread pizza as an appetizer.

Host a pizza party with bowls of pre-cooked toppings and par-baked crusts. Allow guests to top their own single-serving flatbreads.